Grant Partner of the Week #5 | Wheelchairs 4 Kids

 

 When the Wheels You Drive Matter

 

Tony Stewart understands that the quality and driver compatibility of the car he drives determines how well he finishes a race.  It’s no different for the clients served by Wheelchairs 4 Kids, a Tony Stewart Foundation grant partner located in Florida.

 

To understand how Wheelchairs 4 Kids serves children with physical disabilities, picture Tony at age 10 sitting in his go-kart.  It’s fitted perfectly for his size and weight and abilities.  Now, imagine Tony at age 18 sitting in that same tiny kart. How competitive would he be? How comfortable would he be? What complications would it cause? How safe would it be for him to be in it? Tony’s chance of reaching his fullest driving potential is compromised when his equipment doesn’t match his specific needs.

 

 

That same idea makes what Wheelchairs 4 Kids does so life changing for children. Its “Let’s Roll” program provides wheelchairs, home and vehicle modifications, as well as other assistive equipment at NO charge to families with children with special needs.  Children outgrow their wheelchairs before government or insurance programs will allow for a replacement, typically 5 years. Since its inception 7 years ago, the nonprofit has provided equipment or modifications for over 350 kids!

 

The organization name may be Wheelchairs 4 Kids, but these volunteers do so much more.  They have provided custom wheelchairs, widened doors, built ramps and supplied wheelchair lifts and carriers for vehicles.  Through their efforts children have received standers and gait trainers. The bottom line is to create mobility and independence.

 

 

Meet Miller & Nolan

 

Wheelchairs 4 Kids is changing lives!  Miller is a young boy with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II, a disease that causes general muscle wasting, weakness, and impairment of mobility. Miller was in great need of an ultra lightweight wheelchair that would allow him to operate it. Wheelchairs 4 Kids provided a 7-pound wheelchair for Miller who now controls his mobility and is using his muscles more. 

 

 

 

Wheely Fun Days

 

Receiving that right wheelchair brings independence allowing children to more fully enjoy another program offered by Wheelchairs 4 Kids - Wheely Fun Days.  This program is all about getting kids out in the community and into activities that result in fun, socialization, and situations that are inclusive. Wheely Fun Days helps develop the social skills of children with physical disabilities and helps able-bodied children become more comfortable with and more accepting of individual differences.

 

What might a Wheely Fun Day adventure include? Wheelchairs 4 Kids has taken children to World Wrestling Entertainment events where they have met the wrestlers, gone indoor sky diving and to the circus, water-skied using adaptive skis, and attended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp as well as the Nationals major league baseball games. Kids also get the VIP treatment when the St. Pete Grand Prix and IndyCar drivers come to town. 

 

What’s next for kids during Wheely Days? Horse Back Riding at Quantum Leap Farms and also “exclusive” events that let the kids do something truly unique or meet a favorite celebrity!

 

 

Making Mobility Happen

 

Wheelchairs 4 Kids connects with special needs children through a network that includes referrals from Shriners Hospitals, United Cerebral Palsy, The Spina Bifida Association, and Children's Medical Services, among others.  The staff and volunteers at Wheelchairs 4 Kids work closely with each child’s family, physical therapist, social worker, and doctors to ensure that children receive the proper equipment that can give them the independence they deserve.

 

Family members often find themselves physically challenged when trying to care for special needs children in homes that have not been modified for the child’s specific circumstances. Wheelchairs 4 Kids responds by providing roll-in showers or bathing chairs for indoor bathroom use.  The nonprofit has also provided ADA compliant ramps for children who were literally trapped inside their homes because caregivers could not get them up and down stairs without help. Mobility is a precious commodity and Wheelchairs 4 Kids is activity involved to enable children with physical disabilities to thrive.

 

 

Nolan’s New Wheels

 

 

 

Enjoy the stories of other children who have received life-changing equipment from Wheelchairs 4 Kids! CLICK HERE >>

 

 

For more information about Wheelchairs for Kids visit:

http://wheelchairs4kids.org | FB @Wheelchairs4Kids | Twitter @wheelchair4KID | Instagram @wheelchairs4kids

 

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